Yet, no matter if they are playing one of Bizyenba's or Mezouar's originals, or if the jazz piano of Freboeuf is taking the lead, Andalusia is never far from the surface. Whether it's the interjection of the ud, the sound of Mezouar's vocals, a trill in the melody evoking the older music, or something about the quality of sound generated by a hand drum, there's always something that will pull us back to that centre again. What I found most intriguing about the more modern compositions was that the songs building upon a foundation of the Andalusian music, they start from the contemporary and build to old. It's almost as if they were showing us how, no matter where you start, or with what, you will always come back to this point of origin.
While both Frebouef and Bizyenba play key roles in the music, Mezouar is the heart around which this trio beats. As the one with the direct connection to the source of their inspiration if he falters, or strikes anything resembling a false note, the whole ensemble will fail. However one only has to listen to him sing a few notes to have any doubts about his sincerity or his skill dispelled. His voice brings to life songs whose lyrics could have been penned centuries ago and makes them sound as alive and inspiring as if he wrote them himself. Listening to him you can visualize in your mind's eye the open courtyards and minarets of Moorish Spain with their whitewashed walls and the elaborate mosaic pattern of their tiled floors.
Yet this is not just some journey into the past but rather an exploration of the past and the present meeting in harmony and the music of one culture working with others while maintaining its distinctive flavour. With each man bringing his own particular influences into the mix the music becomes a meeting place for styles and traditions. As a result, while we never lose track of the Andalusian core, we are almost always aware of a much wider world existing outside of that particular time and place. At times the sum of the three parts; jazz piano, the rhythms of central Africa, and centuries old Arabic music, becomes a whole that is unique to the moment it was recorded. Even more intriguing is that although you can hear the distinct parts, simultaneously you hear them blending into one.